GTA At 125 Million Units Shipped

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick announced that the Grand Theft Auto series has reached 125 million units shipped. According to Zelnick, the franchise continues to be popular in part because of long waits between incarnations, in contrast to annual franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.

Grand Theft Auto has the highest quality of any title, which is why it is the standard-bearer in the business. It’s why it’s sold 125 million units,” said Zelnick. “I would argue that saying to people ‘make a perfect-rated title that’s the standard bearer in the business and do it on this every-other-year schedule’ not only isn’t realistic, but it also runs the risk of taking a very special franchise and making it less special.”

“That’s never been the case with one of ours,” he said. “Ours do better each time. Our view is it’s hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that’s proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don’t want our IP to hit the wall.”

Source: Credit Suisse Technology Conference

Dishonored ‘A New Franchise’ Says Bethsoft Marketing Head

Dishonored has released to praise and sales success, which is something of a marvel for a new IP during this stage in a console cycle. The powers that be at Bethsoft indicate that the reception might be enough to have the game become a whole new franchise.

“I can tell you that Dishonored is far exceeding our sales expectations, which is especially cool considering it’s new IP facing a host of well-established franchises this quarter,” said Bethesda’s VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines. “We did terrific numbers again this past weekend, both in stores and on Steam, where Dishonored was listed as the #1 selling title over the holiday weekend. And Dishonored has really sold well overseas. So, we’re very pleased and appreciate all the fans that have supported Dishonored and Arkane. We clearly have a new franchise.”

Source: Destructoid

Borderlands 2: Why It’s Not Coming To Wii U

Gearbox software will bring Aliens: Colonial Marines to the Wii U but has no similar plans for Borderlands 2. As it turns out, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford had a very specific reason to port games to the systems that he did.

“We get asked if there is going to be a Wii U version of Borderlands,” said Pitchford to GamesMaster. “The reason why there’s not is because we couldn’t think of a natural, obvious, ‘OMG, I want that for what the Wii U brings to the table’ feature. But with Aliens, the first thing we thought was ‘holy s***, I can have a motion controller in my hands!’ When it’s there in my lap it feels like I’m part of the movie.”

Source: CVG

TimeSplitters 4: Unclear Marketing Messaging Helped Sink Project

Many people wondered after developer Free Radical went bankrupt whether it would have been better served if it had focused more time in getting TimeSplitters 4 out the door. As it turns out, former Free Radical developers Steve Ellis and Karl Hilton say that the company was trying to get a publisher to sign TimeSplitters 4, but marketing pitches and the response to Haze ultimately sunk them.

“TimeSplitters 4 was in the very early stages of development when Free Radical went into administration,” said Ellis. “A small playable demo was shown to several publishers, but it didn’t attract any publishing deals.”

“We pitched [TimeSplitters] to a lot of publishers, and from each of them we got the same two responses,” said Hilton, who is now Crytek U.K.’s managing director. “Firstly, they would ask what happened with Haze. We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn’t as well received. This worried them.”

“Secondly, their marketing person would say something along the lines of, ‘I don’t know how to sell this’,” he continued. “The unanimous opinion among all publishers that we pitched TimeSplitters 4 to is that you can’t market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments – you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn’t have one.”

“Perhaps they are all right. Perhaps this is why the previous games in the series achieved much more critical success than commercial success. For these reasons, one by one they all declined to sign the project,” he concluded.

Source: GamesTM

Cyber Monday Sales Up 28 Percent

Reports are that sales during Cyber Monday were up over 28 percent over last year. This is in spite of taxes imposed by some states for online sales, done in part to encourage buyers to go out to retail locations that have seen their revenue diminish over the past several years.

“It doesn’t look like they’re having a lot of negative impact,” said professor Dale Achabal, executive director of Santa Clara University’s Retail Management Institute. “What we’re seeing is a shift in the way consumers are shopping, with a greater use of online for a significant percentage of their holiday purchases.

IBM Smarter Commerce tracked a 28.4 percent increase in Cyber Monday sales and research firm comScore believes that sales would reach $1.5 billion. This comes after a Black Friday weekend where 247 million shoppers spend $59.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

“Consumers today are sitting at their desks at work with their credit cards out and clicking away and buying . . . or curling up on the couch and doing a little couch commerce,” said Jay Henderson, strategy director of IBM Smarter Commerce.

Deloitte & Touche surveyed Cyber Monday customers in Southern California and found a 3 percent increase in buyers who planned to shop online Monday, or 26 percent of all consumers. “It’s similar to national trends,” said Ellen Basilico, a partner with Deloitte’s San Francisco office. “We do know that consumers are more accustomed to Cyber Monday promotions and retailers are also better at driving more urgency and creating some uncertainty whether those deals will be there later in the season.”

Alan Ross plans to spend $1,200 to $1,700 shopping online for Christmas presents for his wife, Terri, their two kids and other family members despite higher costs with sales taxes. “It won’t deter me at all one bit,” Ross said of the new tax policy. “I’m not a mall guy and I don’t like the hassle of the crowds. This works out perfectly for guys like me.”

 Top 10 Cyber Monday product search terms:

1. Kindle Fire
2. Uggs
3. iPad
4. iPod Touch
5. iPad Mini
6. Legos
7. Amazon Kindle
8. Wii U
9. Kindle Fire HD
10. Ugg Boots


Windows 8 At 40 Million Licenses Sold

Microsoft revealed that 40 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold. Microsoft chief financial officer and chief marketing officer Tami Reller announced this at the Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference.

“The journey is just beginning, but I am pleased to announce today that we have sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far,” said Reller.

The number of apps on the Windows Store has also doubled since launch.


Tapjoy Brings On Steve Wadsworth As CEO

Tapjoy has announced that former president of Disney Interactive Media Group Steve Wadsworth has been named its new CEO. This comes a day after president and CEO Mihir Shah left the mobile advertising platform.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Tapjoy and the incredible team of talented, committed people who have built this dynamic company, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Tapjoy through our next stage of growth,” said Wadsworth, formerly a director at Tapjoy since December 2011. “Tapjoy is a unique and compelling company whose innovation has created a robust model for mobile app discovery and monetization, serving the needs of publishers and advertisers. I’m honored to be part of the team, and I look forward to the opportunity.”

“Tapjoy sits in the epicenter of an incredibly exciting growth industry and is very well positioned to take advantage of future growth,” added Mark Fleshly, chairman of Tapjoy’s board. “Tapjoy has scaled dramatically over the past two years, and we are very excited and fortunate to have someone with Steve’s management credentials and deep technology and entertainment industry expertise to lead Tapjoy through our next phase of growth. Steve has had a unique opportunity to work closely with our senior management team since joining the Board. He will ensure that this is a seamless transition for all of Tapjoy’s customers and employees as we continue to drive the growth and product innovation we are known for. The Board would also like to acknowledge Mihir’s contributions to the firm during his tenure as CEO and thank him for helping the company transition from its start-up phase to a market leading growth company.”